In The Closet, Still
I am in my early twenties, getting close to mid, and have been gay/bisexual my whole life. In my youth, early pubescent, I had a sort of relationship with an older boy and it was obvious that our attractions went beyond standard friendships. Though he was only a year or two older than myself I suppose he was a bit more mature, one day he said "lets face it, we are obviously gay", and for whatever reason this prospect terrified me. I moved to another state with my family shortly thereafter, but from that day forward I did everything in my power to hide my sexual orientation from both myself and my family. I was, and am, fairly attractive, and a tad bisexual, so I was always able to date girls and put on a good show, all the way up through college. But there was always this terror I felt, for example, when around friends I was always fearful that my attraction for them, which I denied to myself, would show. I was even terrified to acknowledge it myself, and when around gay men, who always seemed curious to get to know me, I always felt defensive. I suffered emotionally, due to suppression of desires and fear of not acting masculine enough, and I was terribly confused, as I recognize now, I was constantly on guard. However it never had a serious negative impact until recent years. Around age twenty I really began to suffer, and I continue to suffer, and it has only been over the last year or so that I have actually come to acknowledge that I am in fact attracted to men, always have been, and that this is OK. Yet I remain closeted, for reasons I cannot ascertain. I think I have just gotten so used to this I find it hard to change. Granted, I am finishing grad school this spring season and I have career considerations to keep in mind, but obviously my by being in a same sex relationship, or at least openly gay, would not require that I change my professional behavior. I also know for a fact that the only members of my family that matter would be supportive and just glad to see me happy, considering how depressed I have been, at least partly attributable to my state of self denial, or so I suspect. I recently went on a date arranged by a friend of mine (with a woman) and we pulled up to the cafe and I saw a happy gay couple get out of the car in front of us and go to a spot across the street, I watched longingly, they were so open, free, happy, and then I looked back at my date, needless to say it was a dull evening. Anyway, my point is that I just can't figure out why I am so afraid of coming out. I have never been in a gay relationship, and I have fought my being gay for so long that I cant imagine ever actually being free from this burden of suppression, I feel a certain aggression creep up in my behavior whenever I am around gay men, a sort of defense I have developed over the years to combat my own gayness. It is second nature and I feel bad about it. I am terribly conflicted around openly gay men, especially in social situations, because I feel like their presence draws out my natural self, yet I am somehow deprived from actualizing it. I dont have any gay friends whom I could speak with, but, I am going to be moving to a new city soon and I think I may just have to come out and finally just be myself. But for the time being I am in the closet, however it feels good to finally understand what exactly I am hiding from.